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Get Used to Windows XP SP2 -- SP3 Looks to be a Long Way Off

The official position out of Microsoft on Windows XP Service Pack 3 is, Yes we're working on SP3, and stop asking about it.

"We will be releasing another service pack for XP over the course of the product lifecycle, but we do not have additional information to share at this time," a Microsoft spokesperson said Friday.

A Microsoft product manager apparently gave IDG reporters some additional information earlier this week. The IDG news service quoted a Windows Vista product manager named Michael Burk as saying SP3 won't arrive until after Windows Vista ships in late 2006.

"Right now, Vista is our priority," IDG quoted Burk as saying in a statement. "We'll have more information to share after Vista ships."

If Microsoft is, in fact, waiting until after Vista, turnabout is fair play. That a Windows XP service pack should take a back seat to the Windows Vista operating system seems appropriate given that part of the Longhorn-Vista delay stemmed from Microsoft's all-hands-on-deck effort to improve Windows XP security in SP2.

Microsoft has yet to deliver a run-of-the-mill service pack for Windows XP. Service Pack 1 delivered changes to the operating system required by the antitrust settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. SP2 was a complete security overhaul of the operating system, from new features like the security dashboard, to improved features like the personal firewall to a code rewrite.

Microsoft launched Windows XP in October 2001 and released Service Pack 1 about a year later. Windows XP SP2 posted to the Web in August 2004.

The company remains in the midst of a massive effort to update its installed base to the more secure SP2 -- and Microsoft claims to have well over 200 million users on the SP2 version of Windows XP.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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